The missing Titanic submersible is expected to run out of oxygen by the end of this morning in a ‘miracle’ now needed to find it in time as rumblings are still heard from the depths every 30 minutes.
Rescue efforts to find the five men aboard continued overnight – and grew more desperate – with just hours to go to identify the ‘wanderer’ from the depths and save them. Ten ships and at least two remote subs are actively searching for more today.
The ship Titan lost contact with tour operators about 435 miles south of St. John’s, Newfoundland during Titanic’s voyage off the coast of Canada on Sunday. The last ‘ping’ of its homing device was heard on Sunday afternoon – directly over the world’s most famous sea wreck.
British tycoon Hamish Harding, Oceangate CEO Stockton Rush, French Navy veteran PH Nargiolet and Pakistani businessman Shahzada Dawood and his son Suleiman were among those trapped aboard the Titan Five.
As of Wednesday afternoon, the ship was said to have only 20 hours of oxygen left, meaning it would run out Thursday morning. Experts said people inside would try to slow down their breathing to conserve remaining supplies.
Aboard the Titanic is a flotilla of ships and planes scanning the Atlantic for any sign of the Titan as Sonar hears a rumbling sound from the depths. But the Coast Guard admits they don’t know if it was five men hammering the side of their sub or just the sound of the ocean, possibly debris falling from the surface 12,500 feet below the Titanic.
The great final hope is the French research ship L’Atalante, which arrived in the search area around 2am this morning. It is carrying the Victor 6000 – a robotic sub that can reach depths of 20,000 feet.
It has weapons that can cut cables – or dislodge a stuck or entangled ship – and can fix a cable on the sub before it is hauled to the surface by a giant winch called a Flyway Deep Ocean Salvage System. One of these is believed to be on a ship called the Horizon Arctic, which left Newfoundland yesterday and is on its way to the region but will not arrive until today.
Rescue teams are still hoping that the Titan is intact and that the men are still alive because of the sounds of the crash. Oisin Fanning was on board the Titan sub twice. He told BBC Breakfast this morning: ‘There is no sound. No sound on the Titanic – no hits, nothing. So the probability is that someone taps every 30 minutes to indicate where they are’.
A countdown began as the vital oxygen supply ran out at 7.08am US Eastern Time (12.08pm GMT, 9.08pm Sydney), a US Coast Guard spokesman said.
The sea area is crowded with boats and equipment trying to find the missing sub
Pilots of 14 Wing CP-140 Aurora maritime surveillance aircraft of the Royal Canadian Air Force fly a search pattern for the missing Oceangate submersible.
The Titan, a tourist submersible that runs $250,000 tours of the Titanic wreck and is operated by Oceangate Expeditions, had been underwater since 8 a.m. Sunday with five people aboard.
The Victor 6000 is a French unmanned ROV deployed for subsea exploration that can reach depths of 20,000 feet.
Five people are on board, including British billionaire adventurer Hamish Harding
Shahzada Dawood and his 19-year-old son Suleiman are also on board, along with British billionaire Hamish Harding.
Oceangate campaign CEO Stockton Rush (right) with French Navy veteran PH Nargiolet (left) on the sub
The announcement paints a bleak picture for those trapped inside the stranded vessel, but officials continue to insist that the hunt is ‘100 percent’ still a search and rescue operation.
Deep-sea explorer Dr David Gallo believes it will take a ‘miracle’ to rescue those trapped on Titan, but remains optimistic.
He told Good Morning Britain: ‘Maybe two days ago my hopes were going downhill fast, but then these words came out and there seemed to be a very credible source, credible and repeatable.
‘We will see how it comes out but everything is happening very quickly, so we have a race against time.
‘Our hopes are high. At this point we need a miracle, but miracles do happen, so I’m very hopeful.’
Dr. Gallo said it would take several hours to recover the submarine.
Speaking to Good Morning Britain, he said: ‘In this case, the noise repeats itself, every half an hour I believe.
‘Three different aircraft heard it on their sensors at the same time and it lasted for two days.
‘It’s still going on obviously. There aren’t many things in the natural world that we can think of that would do this every 30-minute cycle.
‘At this point, we have to assume it’s the submarine and quickly go to the location, locate it and land the robot to verify where the submarine is.
‘They have to be fully prepared as if it was the sub because it takes a while to locate it and bring it to the surface, it takes hours.’
Rescuers, including USCG, British Navy and French and Canadian teams, are moving quickly as the rescue window narrows.
Rescuers are not giving up hope, U.S. Coast Guard Capt. Jamie Frederick insisted Wednesday, even as people around the world count the hours until the ship runs out of oxygen.
‘We have to be hopeful and optimistic when we are in search and rescue.
‘If we keep searching, maybe we’ll be at that point… and we’ll have a discussion with the family long before I discuss it publicly here.’
According to Titan’s operator Oceangate, the sub has a 96-hour oxygen supply in case of an emergency.
Search and rescue teams are racing against time as they scour an area where sounds were detected for the missing Titan sub, experts say, as they continue to analyze sounds at sea.
The only possible trace of the ship that continues to be investigated is the underwater ‘banging’ sound, which was detected yesterday in the search for the missing Titanic submersible.
But U.S. Navy experts analyzing the sounds said they still can’t conclude whether they’re coming from a stranded ship and that ROVs are returning negative results from the ocean floor.
With time running out, more equipment is expected to arrive Thursday morning, including more remotely operated vehicles (ROVs) that will continue to scan the ocean from above to detect sounds.
Non-governmental groups that offered their help in the rescue mission early on Monday were not authorized to help until Wednesday night, sources also told MailOnline.
Rescuers are now beginning a last-ditch effort to find the tiny vessel in a vast expanse of water, with a search area stretching to nearly 14,000 square miles — twice the size of the state of Connecticut.
Search timeline for the Ocean Gate submersible (British Summer Time), if the Titan loses its power, the crew will be in total darkness facing temperatures of 3C
The 21ft submersible has an oxygen supply of up to 96 hours
The Victor 6000 is connected to the ship via an electromechanical cable that is 26,250 feet long and provides 20 kW of power.
At a press conference at the US Coast Guard station in Boston – which is coordinating search and rescue efforts – First District Response Coordinator Capt. Jamie Frederick said it was not certain the sub could be saved.
Underwater vehicles 12,500 feet below the Titanic’s wreckage may be able to locate the Titan, but the mammoth task of retrieving it will require additional specialized equipment.
Hopes of a recovery rose slightly on Wednesday when a Canadian P-3 aircraft equipped with sonar detected periodic ‘banging’ sounds.
The P-3 is one of several models of aircraft that scours the ocean surface and helps search using sonar equipment for signs of activity on the seabed.
A number of military and commercial vessels are also on site, offering a mix of search capabilities, communications equipment and rescue equipment should the Titan be found.
In the end, it’s up to the submersible to keep an eye on the Titan if it remains at the bottom of the ocean – or if it’s trapped in the wreckage of the Titanic.
Sean Litt, co-founder of Horizon Maritime Services, the company that owns Titan’s mothership Polar Prince, said on Wednesday that he had never seen advanced search ‘equipment in nature move so fast’.
The family of the missing Titan sub Tourist, Pakistani businessman Shahzada Dawood and his 19-year-old son Sulaiman, gathered on the water Wednesday where the vessel was last seen.
A family source in Karachi, Pakistan, where Mr Dawood is from, released a new photo of the father and son to MailOnline and said: ‘I can tell you that Mrs Dawood and her daughter are and will remain in the search area at the moment. Stay there as long as they can.
Missing Sulaiman Dawood, 19, pictured with his mother Christine on board
Among those taking part in the campaign is billionaire Hamish Harding (pictured), CEO of Action Aviation in Dubai. She excitedly posted on social media about being there on Sunday
‘Obviously it’s a very difficult time for the family and they’re not coping well at all, they’re drawing strength from each other and hoping and praying for the best.
‘The messages of support they are receiving from all over the world are also keeping them positive and they are grateful for everyone’s kind thoughts and wishes.’
‘It is not clear why Mr Dawood wanted to visit the Titanic with his son, but he is driven by a passion for exploration, and I understand it was something that had been planned for some time.’
The Daudas belong to one of the most prominent families in Pakistan. Their eponymous company invests in agriculture, industry and health sectors across the country.
Shahzada’s wife Christine and daughter Alina and their families are awaiting news of the pair.
Among Titan’s passengers are British billionaire adventurer Hamish Harding and Oceangate CEO and founder Stockton Rush.
In a heartbreaking plea, Janik Mikkelsen, a close friend of Mr Harding’s, warned ‘we are running out of time’.
The terrified friend told BBC Radio 4’s Today program yesterday: ‘I’m nervous. I am sick to my stomach with nerves. I’m scared, I’m worried. I can’t sleep right now. I’m just hoping for good news. Every second, every minute feels like hours.’
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